Community Development Commission approves $800M in TIF money for Lincoln Yards

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Late Tuesday Chicago's Community Development Commission voted $800 million in tax increment finance, or TIF, money to be used for the massive Lincoln Yards development along the north branch of the Chicago River.

Lincoln Yards opponents lined up earlier for a specially scheduled meeting to decide whether the massive project would use tax payer money to build infrastructure surrounding it. They donned buttons that read "delay the vote."

"There is a lot of transparency around this deal that requires investigation, it's time to put a hold on the deal until a new mayor and council are installed," said 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack.

With Chicago recently named the most corrupt city in the country by a new UIC study, several North Side aldermen and community organizations said before $800 million of TIF money is used for the mega project, more questions need to be answered, specifically about how the property has been assessed.

"We need to show the public that the largest TIF in Chicago history was not a rigged done deal," said 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith.

The project and the use of TIF money has the backing of 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins. He said public money will only be spent on infrastructure, including three new bridges over the Chicago River, road improvements and a new Metra station.

"All these type of things we talking about paying for are things the community wants today, we have no other means of paying for other than this TIF," Hopkins said.

Hopkins believes the project should not be delayed.

"We may or may not resolve this in the next couple months, but I see no reason to wait," he said.

The next step is a vote by the full Chicago City Council.
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